How to prevent sore eyes on holiday | #MeMyselfAndEye

Monday, 20 September 2021

After 21 months in the UK (have I mentioned that already) I finally went abroad last month - what a time to be alive. 

Travel is one of the most important parts of my life and I forgot the joy that it brings me. I also forgot alot of other things about traveling. I forgot to barter before I jumped in a taxi, I almost forgot to buy travel insurance before I left and I forgot how it affects my eyes. 

As an infrequent contact lens wearer, a holiday is usually a bit of a shock for my eyes because all of a sudden, I am putting them in for hours on end, every day. Having toughed through a few days, I soon started making a bit more effort to give my eyes a rest.

It is so important to take our eye health seriously and with National Eye Health Week this week, I have put together some tips for how to look after your eyes when you travel. 

Eye drops for the plane

We all know the airflow on planes is not good for our body and with low humidity levels on board, dry eyes are a given.

Eye drops help with moisture levels and hydration plus they come in tiny aeroplane safe bottles so they're easy to travel with. Keep one in your bag and use it when needed to give your eyes a refresh.

I suffer with dry eyes quite a bit; in the air and otherwise. It's a real pain when I have a long day with my lenses, but I have started to use Thealoz Duo eye drops and find them great for giving my sore eyes some instant re-hydration.

Don't forget to drink water 

If you're like me, then when you go on holiday, you choose somewhere hot. In the heat, you're much more likely to get dehydrated (alcohol consumption doesn't help) and eyes don't take well to that so it's important to drink an adequate amount of water each day.

Obviously, this is also important for your overall health, but dehydrated eyes could end up red and sore or blurring your vision. It will also cause contact lenses to dry up and become very uncomfortable; I talk from experience.

Take your make up off

Yes, it does seem that I come rolling in at 3am a little more often when I'm on holiday but that is no excuse to not wash my face before I get into bed.

I'm great at remembering to take my lenses out but anything after that seems to be forgotten until I wake up the next morning with black smudges all over my face and more often than not, clumps of mascara stuck to my lashes.

This is not smart and can be really irritating for both the eye and my lashes.

Don’t forget your glasses

This is one of my biggest holiday checks; phone, passport, glasses.

At best, you'll be straining your eyes and at worst, you'll be almost blind, like me. I literally cannot see a thing without them so my glasses are not something I can afford to forget.

Take opportunities like lazy breakfasts or the hours getting ready before going for dinner to wear your glasses and give your eyes a rest.

Keep your eyes clean

Not only were the roads much dustier where we were in Mykonos but getting around by quad bike meant that I'd often have all sorts of bits flying in my eyes. The same sort of thing can happen at the beach so it's important to take the time to rinse your face and wash your eyes when you can. 
These Blephaclean daily eyelid cleanisng wipes are perfect as they're ready to use and small enough to stick in my bra if I went out without a bag.


Wear Sunglasses

Clearly sunglasses make everyone look better but that is not their sole purpose. Obviously, we should be wearing sunglasses to protect our eyes from harmful rays from the sun.

I have a funny relationship with sunglasses. I don't enjoy wearing them because it meant putting my lenses in first although I put up with it on most days. 

Finally, having had enough of the problem, I came home to a new pair of prescription sunglasses. 

Problem solved, forever.

I got them from which is where my everyday glasses came from and I am very pleased with them. We have had some particularly hot days back in London so at least they're getting their use!

National Eye Health Week runs from 20-27th September. Take the opportunity to do some research and make sure you are looking after your eyes as best you can.


My £2 visit to The Pilgrm Hotel, Paddington

Sunday, 12 September 2021

When The Pilgrm started appearing on my feed, I initially thought it was a brunch cafe, all anyone ever posted were photos of pancakes and avocado toast but that was enough for me to have a click around and find out that actually, it's a hotel - quite possibly the most instsgrammable new hotel in London at that. Just look at this lobby:

This is what they would call the reception; if this were a normal hotel but this was by no means a traditional lobby. From the street, similarly to as online, you could quite easily mistake the place for a coffee shop although like any good lobby, (pr coffee shop) the madness of the street outside disappears as soon as you step in. You feel the serenity hit you as you're greeted by a grand wooden staircase, a wall of hanging plants and a coffee bar come check in desk.

Check in can all be done prior to arrival so all you really need to do is pick up your key. It was all very quick and informal which was nice considering I was a bit of a sweaty mess having just cycled there from SW London. It was a really nice day so I did enjoy the ride but with Paddington station just across the road, I needn't have bothered - the transport links are pretty awesome.

The dark wood of the staircase and the theme of hanging plants is continued through to the bar and restaurant upstairs; it's full of character. With two separate indoor dining areas plus an outside terrace, the public spaces in the hotel were really well done and actually very peaceful considering the hustle and bustle outside. The sort of place made for ordering a coffee and getting some work done; which was exactly my plan for the afternoon.

Less relaxing is the maze of corridors which had me feeling like I was lost deep somewhere in the hotel for a few minutes although I was initially given very good directions to my room so I only got lost when I went for a wander to see what else was around. 

The rooms aren't quite as pretty as the public space although absolutely nothing to complain about. Very simplistic with lots of natural light and a puffy white bed. There was a full length mirror which is always appreciated, a small rail for a couple of hangers, a TV, a fan and a little armchair in the corner. My favourite thing however was the Marshall speaker which I promptly connected my phone to whilst I got ready to head out for the evening.

The bathroom was awesome in black and white. There was a big rainfall shower and ample space to move, although the sink area was lacking, in terms of size and space for much more than a toothbrush.

I saw it being described somewhere as a hotel for locals and I can get behind this. It was the perfect base for us since we were heading to regents park that evening.

Oh, and I forgot the mention the most amazing thing about this stay - it only cost me £2 (that's if you disregard the botlle of prosecco we drank.)

Sometime way back in lockdown (the days all blend into one dont they?) I saw their pay the date promotion in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and managed to nab a room on the 2nd day - obviously a great cause and I was pleased to be a part of it.

Normal room rates start as low as £69 and in my opinion, it blows any other budget friendly hotel out of the water- a great new spot if you ask me!

Crust Bros at Sambrooks Brewery, Wandsworth

Monday, 6 September 2021

Known for their signature leopard-spotted crusts and incredible bottomless pizza deals, Crust bro's are now, no longer a one store entity.

Having hit it big time with their Waterloo location, they've recently taken over the kitchen at Sambrook's Brewery and added Wandsworth's Ram Quarter to their repertoire. Excellent, a 4 minute walk from my front door.

Cleary, it is a great location for me but not just because it's so close. The outdoor space is an awesome place to spend a warm summers evening because it's set still within the walls of The Ram Quarter. That means no disturbance from the outside world (namely the road traffic and people milling about aimlessly) which makes a huge difference to the vibe. It has a very relaxed and friendly feel which, of course is lovely.

We ended up wandering past on opening night a few weeks back and it has been busy every time I've walked past since; our Friday night visit was no different. We grabbed one end of a bench - I sat on the left so I could look at the dog on the next table - and ordered via the app. 

They have the option for fully customisable pizzas but actually, the selection on the menu was far too tempting to bypass. David went for the 'straight outta hell' pizza which provided a kick of heat in the form of spicy njuda. A high rating from someone who eats more pizza than anyone else I know.

I had the 'Nonnas Yard' which turned out to be the pizza I didn't know I needed. It was covered in all of my favourite things so it's safe to say I enjoyed it. Mushrooms, caramelised onions and goats cheese with a generous pesto swirl - such a unique pizza topping but flavours that just inherently work well together. The distinctive, herby pesto cut through the sweet onions and creamy cheese and brought it all together perfectly. Paired with a glass of prosecco and I was a happy bunny. 

Everything came out at the same time so whilst we were working through those, we also had a burrata and bruschetta to attend to.

I order burrata at every given opportunity and the Crust Bros one always stands out. This is the third one I've had here and they are just so consistently good. Sat on a pile of seasoned tomatoes which were a well-received accompaniment - and also the topping for the bruschetta we ordered.  

We didn't really need dessert but declining a Nutella pizza was a hard no so we had to make room. Luckily, it wasn't a full-sized pizza so eating it wasn't too much trouble. Very indulgent but it was Friday night after all so why not?


Opening week at the Ivy Asia, Chelsea

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Finally, the long awaited Ivy Asia on the Kings Road opened and with my mum coming to stay later that week, we went along for dinner.  

If you've been to the St Paul's one, you will recognise the signature green crystal floor and all the rest of the decoration however this one is much smaller and more intimate. It also seems to be a little more expensive although that's not completely unexpected with it being in Chelsea.

The space wasn't a problem when we got there at 5pm as it was pretty quiet although as it started to fill up, it got to feel quite closed in and a claustrophobic. Once there were loads of people in close proximity in every direction, I was ready to leave.

That being said, we had a great time and I am very pleased to have been. Not only is there food always good but the staff here seemed to be particularly friendly, I'm sure they were excited for their first week!

We ordered the sesame crusted prawn dumplings to start. I love dumplings and these were quite special. The ponzu and daikon sauce complemented the taste of the prawn filling very well but it was the sesame seeds on top of these that brought a whole new level to the dish. It was a totally different texture as it hits your mouth and the crunch was awesome. 

We had a good long discussion about what to order next as they make it a very hard decision when trying to weigh up what you want to eat with what you want to look at. 

Let me explain; there are quite a few 'spectacle' dishes as I would describe them, the sort that come served on some kind of weird and wonderful dish, brought to the table in a puff of smoke. I wanted the duck, but I didn't actually want the duck, I just wanted the big golden sculpture but mum talked me out of it and I was glad she did. It was just a very expensive, small plate of takeaway duck which was evident when the table next to us ordered it.

Still chasing the high of a sweet, sticky sauce, we went for the chicken and the beef - but the beef was sold out before the lunch cover was over apparently so we went for the lamb instead; with a side of pak choi.

The robata glazed chicken was a very picky dish, perfect for grabbing a piece in between everything else. The smooth spiced avocado mash underneath was really good but sadly, the overly efficient service meant that it was taken away from the table as soon as the chicken was done, meaning we didn't get to enjoy the last bits and the crispy shallots which was a real shame. The same thing actually happened with the dumplings, quite a pain actually.

Sticky lamb dishes are not something I often see on a menu but BBQ Korean lamb cutlets sounded great and they were! Korean sauces have that extra kick, paired with the smashed sesame and cucumber mash underneath, the succulent meat was a delicious bite. 

Pak Choi coated in ginger and soy was the perfect accompaniment and broke up all of the meat. 

The dessert menu is pretty similar to the St Paul's one and we both knew what we were going to order before we'd even left the flat. The Sphere. A very rich dessert, a much better idea to share but of course we ordered one each as sharing dessert with my mum is never a good idea.

Passionfruit and yuzu are two of my favourite fruity flavours and combined with the white chocolate and caramel, this dessert is just a dream. With hidden popping candy and the whole theatrics of the caramel sauce which melts the sphere as it is poured  in front of you it's an all round great dessert and one that I order again and again. Sadly it doesn't photograph very well so you'll just have to take my word for it on this one.

A Fever Event: Magical Movie Soundtracks By Candlelight

Monday, 23 August 2021

Fever events seem to be popping up all over the place at the moment and whilst I don't take all that much notice of my Facebook feed most of the time, this one grabbed me instantly. 

Candlelight Special Edition: Magical Movie Soundtracks at Syon Park

It was the perfect summers evening so whilst the candlelit part of the night didn't happen and candles didn't particularly add to the ambiance as planned, they did add to the aesthetic, it was a beautiful set up in an already breathtaking venue. Magical, even before the music had started. I was honestly blown away, The Great Conservatory at Syon Park must be one of the prettiest venues in London.

We had Zone A seating which were front row seats with premium visibility and with (or maybe without, who knows) Covid restrictions, everyone was very well spaced around The City String Quartet who were playing for us in the middle.

They started with some Disney classics which of course was why I was there, The Lion King songs were my particular highlight but I also very much enjoyed the classics from The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. Then there were a few from Harry Potter and Star Wars before they finished with a couple of Shrek favourites.

I was sad they didn't play the Moana songs which were mentioned on the website but it didn't impact on my night all that much. Another thing, had I been a little more prepared like everyone else, I would have brought a bottle of prosecco and a couple of glasses since there wasn't a bar at the venue but again, it wasn't a huge problem.

At just an hour long, it left me feeling very satisfied and wanting more all at the same time, although we were both very pleased that the 8pm end time meant we had time to head out for dinner after which was an unexpected surprise!

As described, it was absolutely magical and something completely different, for me at least. A very memorable evening.

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